As the largest country in the world by landmass, Russia can be a challenge to travel. Not just because it can take weeks to get across, but also because the culture is so uniquely Russia. But once you’ve warmed to it, Russia has some absolutely stunning places to check out, like the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg or the fairytale churches of Moscow.

We’ve got city guides to both Moscow and St. Pete, plus looks at other, smaller cities around the country worth checking out, like the Buddhist enclave in Elista. Just make sure to factor in enough time to get around — like we said: traversing this country can take a while.